Family Magazine

The Tween Years, and a Promise to My Daughter.

By Mediocremom @mediocre_mom

I’ve been noticing things about Punkin lately. She doesn’t always laugh at my silliness. Most of the time she does, but sometimes she looks at me like there’s something very, very wrong.

She cries. About her shoes not tying. About her hair not being the way she wants it. About running late because she spent half the morning reading again.

Side note: I’m a science geek. I like logic. The Nerd loves me for this, because it means I don’t really do that whole girlie irrational emotional thing a lot. I had a conversation with a friend once where I told her she wasn’t being rational, and she was like, “I’m not rational! I’m emotional!” And I was all, “Why can’t you be both? Feel frustrated, take a step back, fix the problem. Done and done.” But it would appear that in that department, I’m kind of weird. I’m totally trying to teach my girls that it’s okay to feel emotional, as long as you don’t use it an excuse for bad behavior. And maybe also that it’s really, really not worth crying over a ponytail.

Are you there God? It's me, Margaret.

I’m so close to passing on this wisdom to Punkin. It’s terrifying. (Photo credit: MrSchuReads)

Anyway. I couldn’t help but wonder if I was silently entering tween territory without even knowing it. So I did the most logical thing I could think of: I Googled it to see if there was an actual definition.

The interwebs defines a tween as “a child between middle childhood and adolescence, usually between 8 and 12 years old.”

And then I cried.

Not really. But you guys, I’m so not ready for this. For the irrational tears and the mood swings and the silly fads. And thinking about it made me remember the squishy little baby I brought home from the hospital, what seems like 5 minutes ago. And it made me realize that in what will seem like another 5 minutes, she’ll be all grown up.

And then I may have cried a little for real.

I know the teen years are hard. I did that. I faced the death of a parent, abandonment issues, depression, and suicidal thoughts. I’m no stranger to the emotional turmoil of adolescence. But I also know that I had an unshakable rock to lean on. My faith in a very real God got me through some very dark times.

And I had people who loved me.

I also know that my girls are beyond blessed to have two parents who love them, love each other, and aren’t shy about either. I know that they’ve been brought up knowing there’s a real God who’s bigger than all their problems and loves more than anything. So bring it, tween years. I got this. And in the meantime, I will make these promises:

  1. I will drive you crazy. I will talk to you all the time. About everything. Because I love you, I care, and I want to know what’s going on in your life. Even if it involves One Direction at some point.
  2. I will not judge you for all the emotional stuff that drives me batty. And I will do my very best to hide that it drives me batty.
  3. I will embarrass you at home, but never in front of other people. Daddy and I will kiss in front of you, and when you’re all grown up, you’ll realize that it may be gross, but it also assured you that we loved each other and weren’t going anywhere. You’ll get over it.
  4. I will trust you, because you’ve never given me a reason not to. I won’t assume the worst.
  5. I’ll give you time and space when you need it.
  6. I’ll buy you, “Are you there, God? It’s me, Margaret.” because that is the best tween book ever.
  7. I will make you do annoying family things like devotional time, game night, and stories around the fire. And at some point you may rather be on your phone, but secretly, you’ll never have need to doubt our love for you. So there.
  8. I will beat up boys who break your heart. At least, in my mind I will.
  9. I won’t go anywhere. I’ll be there for the Science fair, the school play, every single first day of school, and every other important event.
  10. I will love you so much it hurts. And sometimes, I’ll cry with you.

Also, in a few years, I’ll share my secret chocolate stash with you. But only in emergencies.

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